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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

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It is even calculated to bring out some revelations
earlier than might otherwise have been the case, though
wŁ must never forget that it enables other things to be
kept concealed with the greater impunity. The good
which is produced for the time being turns to serious
evil, however, if the new situation has the effect of
blurring old distinctions; and one of the disturbing
symptoms of the present time is the fact that attempts
have indeed been made to blur the distinctions, as will
appear from some examples given below. It is necessary
not to allow the new state of affairs to conceal the fact
that what we have to deal with is still official history.
If that point were to be overlooked in a universal absence
of mind or suspension of criticism, too good a bargain
would have been made for the State, and an important
cause would have been put in jeopardy. In any case,
there is need for a very precise code of guarantees to
assure one that the interests of independent historical
science have been guarded in a watertight manner,
considering the pitfalls that exist. Official historians
are serving the public, it is true; their labours are
sometimes of colossal magnitude; but they get the
reward that is certainly due to them. If they are true
to the ideal of academic history they will agree that all
forms of official history should be regarded with the
greatest caution, the greatest critical alertness ; and they
will see that their own hands are strengthened by the
very clamour of criticism, the very importunity of their
enemies* It may be necessary that official history sliould
be produced. It is equally necessary that it should be
subjected to unremitting scrutiny.